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U.S. Attorney General To Provide Explanation Of Russia Contacts


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will provide a written explanation about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during last year's presidential campaign, the Justice Department has said.

Sessions will present his explanation on March 6 to the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to questions posed by committee Democrats, who have demanded to know why Sessions failed to mention his two meetings with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak during his confirmation hearing before the committee in January, the department said late on March 3.

Sessions will also present an amended version of his testimony at that time, it said.

Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, said on March 2 that he met with Kislyak in his Senate office two months before the election as well as at an event with other ambassadors at the Republican National Convention in July, but he has not disclosed what they discussed.

Sessions' agreement to respond to questions in writing came after the committee's nine Democrats asked the committee's chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, to call Sessions back before the committee to testify publicly on the matter.

Grassley rejected that request, saying Sessions already did the right thing by removing himself from the FBI's investigation into alleged contacts between Russian officials and President Donald Trump's campaign.

While welcoming Sessions' recusal decision, some top Democrats have maintained that it did not go far enough and he should resign because he "lied" under oath at the confirmation hearing.

The committee Democrats said Sessions' responses to questions during his confirmation hearing were "at best, incomplete and misleading," and significant questions remain unanswered.

"Given the seriousness of this matter, we do not believe that a written submission to correct the record is sufficient," they said in a letter to Grassley on March 3.

Trump and the Kremlin have both dismissed the Democrats' allegations as a "witch hunt."

Trump called Sessions an "honest man," although he said Sessions could have been "more accurate" in responding to questions from his colleagues.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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